Wednesday October 6, 2021

The debate over the job of city attorney in Pahokee is still not over. A Palm Beach judge recently ruled the city commission was lawful when they fired Burnadette Norris Weeks over the summer. Things proved difficult once again in an effort to stay on task as Mayor Keith Babb and City Attorney Gary Brandenburg exchanged words back and forth. During the over 3-hour meeting, Babb alleges that Brandenburg accused him of being a drug dealer and user during a court deposition over a recent lawsuit filed against the city. Brandenburg issued the following challenge, to Pahokee’s mayor: He asked the mayor to report to the hospital to take a drug test, and he would do the same. Babb vehemently denied of ever being a drug user or a drug dealer and issued his own contest: He pledged that he would give $4000 to any audience member who could prove that he used or sold drugs. He volunteered Brandenburg to contribute an additional $1000. Pahokee City meetings are live streamed and archived on YouTube.

Glades County Commissioners approved the employment contract for new County Manager Marcos Montes De Oca. His salary is $113,000 for the first year. He said being around for the county budget process has really helped him get started. He said he understands the issues facing the county and the financial constraints they have. One of his first projects is addressing the alleged undercount for the county on the 2020 census. 

The Governor’s Press Office reports: After alerting the City of Gainesville of their possible violation of the vaccination passport ban in Florida, the Florida Department of Health received a response, indicating the City of Gainesville rescinded its employee vaccine mandate. This reversal also follows an Eighth Judicial Circuit Court temporary injunction preventing vaccine mandates for city employees. “Floridians have the right to make their own decisions regarding the health of themselves and their families,” according to Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo. Two weeks ago, Governor DeSantis held an event to reinforce Florida’s commitment to pushing back against government vaccine mandates. This past May, Governor DeSantis signed landmark legislation to ban vaccine passports in Florida. Senate Bill 2006 which, among other provisions, specifically bans governmental entities in Florida from requiring proof of vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from their operations, including employees. Additionally, the law imposes a $5,000 fine per violation for any entity, including government entities, that asks to see proof of vaccination in Florida.

The Hendry County School Board met yesterday and the main topic of the meeting was literacy. Literacy Coaches from Hendry County gave a presentation of what is to come, as they highlight the importance of knowing how to read, and showed off some new materials. The coaches were praised and challenged for their hard work in the past and for the challenges they face, as one board member says, some students have been, and still are being left behind. Chairperson for the Hendry County School Board Stephanie Busin told the coaches that literacy is a passion of hers because she is personally invested having her own kids face challenges, that were not addressed by her district. Busin says, she’ll be shadowing the coaches in the days to come, to monitor their progress with the students.